Luke 13 v 30. “Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
In the life to come there will be many people who were the first to hear but will not have a share in the Heavenly Kingdom, while others who may not have had those first glorious opportunities, but heard the message at last, even if it took centuries to get to them, who will share in the glory of the Kingdom.
Think of how great the foolishness of people can be. We all know those who have made the most obvious wrong decisions in life and as a result their lives have become a wreck. But to have been so near to Christ, as these first listeners were without taking him seriously or repenting of their sins, receiving Him as the true Saviour and coming to know Him personally, is surely the greatest of all failures. They will be shut out forever from the glorious company of the saints in the wonderful and glorious world that is to come. Who can measure the disappointment and the frustration of it all?
But we should remember that although they had Jesus with them personally, we have Him through His Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit with us today. It is just as serious a matter today for people to hear the Gospel message and by not responding personally to be lost forever.
When is the door shut for us? Who knows? One occasionally meets people who go through their lives utterly dead to the Gospel and bereft of grace, in spite of Christian families and many opportunities to hear and repent. Have they crossed the line? But while we cannot speculate about these matters, one thing is for sure. Death closes the door once and for all, for each of us.
We must come to Christ in this life and it is safe to assume that the narrow door is open to us until we breathe our last. But once death has claimed us it is too late. There are no second chances after death. Bishop J C Ryle of Liverpool said long ago, “Somewhere between the cradle and the grave we must be born again.”
We all ought to make it a matter of utmost importance to search our hearts and to make sure that we will be among those who enter the narrow door.